Taxpayers are expected to foot K3.4 billion in compensation for people who will be affected by the rehabilitation of the 301-kilometre (km) section of the M1 between Lilongwe and Rumphi.
In a response to a questionnire, Roads Authority ( R A ) spokesperson Portia Kajanga, said about 2 223 people, technically referred to as project-affected persons, will be compensated.
She said: “Most affected persons in Lot 4 [between Kacheche in Mzimba and Chiweta in Rumphi] will be paid their compensation in August. There was a slight delay due to issues concerning the identity of most of the concerned people in this area.”
However, Kajanga said the amount of compensation is likely to go up as they are still verifying project-affected persons.
Project documents show that those who encroached into the road reserve boundary on the section between Lilongwe and Kasungu will take up almost half of the total compensation.
The European Investment Bank (EIB), one of the financiers of the project, requires that all payment and compensation related to land acquisition and relocation of people be done prior to beginning of the road upgrade project.
The document shows compensation ensures that the project does not leave anyone economically disadvantaged.
But a source close to the project said the increase in compensation is due to government’s failure to regulate construction in the road reserve boundaries.
The source said sometimes people take advantage of the project to put up structures along the reserved areas to benefit from compensation.
When asked on the matter, the Road Fund Administration asked for more time to share details on the sections that have the highest cost of compensation.
But the Resettlement Action Plan on the road project carried out in 2019 shows that the 102 km section between Lumbadzi and Kasungu has at least 1 049 affected persons who will require K1.5 billion in compensation.
The 85.5 km section from Kasungu and Jenda has 749 affected sections requiring K597.8 million.
While the 46.7 km section from Jenda and Mzimba Turn-Off has 126 affected persons requireing K110 million.
The assessment did not include the fourth section between Kacheche and Chiweta. The three sections will cost the project K 2.2 billion in compensation.
President Lazarus Chakwera launched rehabilitation works for sections of the M1 between Lumbadzi and Chiweta on Tuesday at Madisi in Dowa.
In November 2019, the Malawi Government and the European Union (EU) signed a financial agreement for 139 million euro as contribution towards the rehabilitation of the M1.
Of the amount, 95.5 million euro was a loan from EIB and 43.1 million euro a grant from the EU.